signs and symbols is pleased to present Cloud of Petals, a video exhibition by Sarah Meyohas as part of the gallery’s series of online-only solo presentations of video works.
“At the site of the former Bell Labs, sixteen workers photograph 100,000 individual rose petals. The massive dataset they compile is used to map out an artificial intelligence algorithm that learns to generate new unique petals forever.
“Petals cannot digitize themselves. Human hands must individually open the flower, pick the petal, place it under the lens, press the shutter, and upload the image to the cloud. Then again, and again, and again. Computers document the signals generated by humans. When computers were human, they were often women.
“In August 2016, 10,000 roses were placed in the atrium of Bell Works. The work of photographing the individual petals and turning them into a dataset was performed by sixteen men. The photographs, a sequence of petals, reenact the rose. Beauty compels the act of replication.
“The workers set aside the petals they considered most beautiful which were pressed to create a physical subset. The transmission of an understanding lies latent in the aesthetic choice — the decisive moment.
“This film is caused by the scene — the workers and the petals in the building reflecting light in such a way as to cause a trace on the light sensitive emulsion of the negative, like a pointed finger. The analogue becomes more pronounced side to side with the digital — as in, upon a technological evolution.” — Sarah Meyohas
*Please note that Meyohas’s video will be viewable online from Thursday, October 22 at 6:00pm until Sunday, November 22 at 6:00pm. Following the end of the exhibition, the video will only be accessible via private link and password. We trust that given our current circumstances, everyone will act in good faith and good will, understanding that these are primary artworks by our artists that are collected and which would otherwise be password protected.
French-American artist sarah meyohas centers her practice within emerging technologies. Working in media from cryptocurrency to augmented reality, she enlists the natural world as references, network as medium, and the specular as a mode of contemplation. Rose petals act as a metaphor for the binary language of digital communication, augmented reality birds flock in accordance with the stock market index, and foliage is visually pulled into a boundless void through the artist’s ongoing two-way mirror photographic series. By merging traditional mythologies and clichéd objects of beauty with contemporary digital mediums, Meyohas enacts a visual language for the systems, algorithms, and technologies that influence our daily lives.
Meyohas exhibits her work internationally, with solo exhibitions in New York at Red Bull Arts and 303 Gallery. Her work has traveled to institutions including the Barbican in London, the Jameel Arts Center in Dubai, the Ming Contemporary Art Museum in Shanghai, and the New Museum in New York. She has been featured in The New York Times, Time Magazine, Wired, Vice, ArtForum, and The Atlantic and has appeared on CNBC, PBS, and CBC. Her film “Cloud of Petals” has been screened at various film festivals including the Minneapolis St Paul International Film Festival, Slamdance, NY Times Talks, CogX, and the Locarno Film Festival. She has been named in Forbes Magazine's "30 under 30" list and Cultured Magazine’s “30 under 35” list. Meyohas holds a B.S. in finance from the Wharton School and a B.A. in international relations from the University of Pennsylvania, and in 2015 she received an M.F.A. from Yale University. The artist currently splits her time between New York and London and is working towards a feature-length film and various public commissions.